My checklist for teaching my child this year

My checklist for teaching my child this year
(A pandemic checklist)

As a homeschool mom we follow a syllabus with a set of outcomes and skills to teach each year.

These are put into place so that we can monitor to see that Hamish is on par with his peers in the grade he should be.

However, stressed children or those who are fighting anxiety and large emotions are really not able to learn at their best.

And as a firm advocate of learning through play as the basis to preschool and learning, I have learnt over the last 500 days of the pandemic just how important it is to focus on ensuring that Hamish feels safe, loved and anxiety free over keeping tabs on his academic progress.

Now, I’m not saying his academics are not important.

I’m saying that in the long run he will have many years to learn new skills and knowledge but right now, in an increadibly scary and restrictive time, his emotions and mental health need to be my first priority.

For this reason, we play a lot.

Most of his lessons are introduced through play and we spend a lot of time discussing issues. Listening to him and ensuring that his needs for stability, safety, love and fun are met over and above reading lessons and his math syllabus.


And so I thought I’d share my basic checklist, inspired by Empowered Teaching, of what I want to teach Hamish this year

  • Laugh & play a lot.
  • Reduce his anxiety& fears .
  • Make him feel loved & safe all day.
  • Laugh & play a lot.
  • Teach him something.

These are the traits I believe he needs this year.

Keep him safe

It’s my duty as his mom to keep him safe and for that reason, and because we can afford to, we have Hamish learning at home. We don’t expose him to situations, people and places where he could get infected and we watch the friends he plays with.

But we also get him outside as much as possible, to large areas where social distancing can take place and where he can gain the benefit of vitamin D,natural sunlight, exercize and fresh air.

We have taught him to wear his mask, sanitize and the dangers of not doing so.

Keeping him safe is not just cocooning him away from people but teaching him why we isolate or social distance and the responsibility we all have to keep ourselves and each other hygenically safe.

Calm his fears

It is also our responsibility in keeping him safe not to fuel his anxiety or any fears by manifesting our own onto him.

As parents we need to be practical. The pandemic is still here a year and a half later and it’s not going away in a rush. Knowing this we need to equip him with the coping skills he needs as he hears us speak or listens to news.

To do this we speak often and listen to his fears. We discuss the small things like monsters under the bed and the big things like death.

We have given him the vocabulary to express his emotions and describe how he is feeling or what he is thinking.

We listen.

One of his biggest causes of anxiety has not been able to see his friends and so we have made a very big effort to help him stay connected to his friends through zoom, whatsapp video or calls.

It is important to feel loved and safe

By helping him feel heard and giving him as many hugs and attention as he needs , we are securing a safe space for him to not only express himself but to feel safe and loved even if the world seems inconsistent and scary.

Sometimes this means we bend the rules. Bedtime may take 3 stories instead of 1 or on a hard day we may stop everything and build playdough cakes for an impromptu teddy tea party.

The truth is that a child does not understand or care about an adult schedule and often in uncertainty a child’s way of saying ” I need help” ” This is too big” or ” I’ve had a bad day” is by asking you to play with them and so the best way to make your child feel loved is through play.

However, structure is vital. A child needs structure to understand their day. Many children thrive on constant structure. So, keeping your basic daily routine will ensure that your child feels safe all day, as they know what to expect next.

Laugh & play a lot

There is a lot of negativity and bad news right now, especially as we still struggle a level 4 lockdown here in South Africa.

Our children don’t understand the negativity and haven’t asked for this world they find themselves in. Our stress is just that….Our own.

And while I’m not dismissing the hardship and stress so many households are under right now, I’m asking that we remember to make life magical and as special as we can for our children.

Let them look back at this period of their lives as the time they laughed and played the most.

Teach him something

And in-between teaching him how much I love him, that home is a safe space, that his emotions matter and that as his parents we will do everything in our power to keep him safe and happy …. I hope to teach him resilience and hope.

I hope to teach Hamish kindness and empathy for others. Tolerance and patience. Respect and the importance of diversity and inclusion.


Somewhere in between all of that we will dig out the books, grab the educational toys, watch a documentary and be inspired by his syllabus to teach him some academic skills.


On the hard days, the long days, the overwhelming days, the scary days, the days of isolation and maybe just because it’s Friday …..

We will play 

Empowered Teaching podcast put out a wonderful list of things teachers want to teach this year and I modified it a bit on what I want to teach Hamish this year as it truly resonated with my teacher mom homeschool side.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.